My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18
One of the things I regret the most from a couple of years ago is that I was so wrapped up with everything going wrong in my life that I wasn't able to be active in the boys' lives. I was basically enough of a Mom to make sure they were fed and in bed on time, and other than that I was just trying to hold myself together. I feel like I lost two years of their childhood. I can't tell you much of what they did during those two years, and that makes me sad.
The best thing I have learned over the past year is how to be completely and totally "present" in their lives. I try to limit my phone usage when they're awake, I try to avoid anything that takes my attention away from them. Sometimes it's unavoidable, but I try to do the best I can. I want to be an active part of their lives. I want to be able to say 'yes' every time they ask me to play something. I want to snuggle on the couch and read books with them, or sit with them at the computer and google funny animal pictures. I want them to know that I'm here, and that I'm never leaving them. I don't want them to have abandonment issues after everything thats happened.
Even though I know I'm doing this for me and the boys' sake, I sometimes feel like I have an ulterior motive. There are times that I make the effort to do more things because I know their dad won't. Which that in itself isn't a bad reason, but deep down I want them to remember which parent did more with them. I want them to see his lack of interest in their lives. I want them to be disappointed that he doesn't make it to their awards assemblies when he promises he will. I want them to eventually see how selfish he is. How horrible is that? I know it's wrong, but I'm just so scared that one day they will decide to follow in his footsteps. Not in his profession...but in the way he lives his life.
When they were born I worried that they would stop breathing in the middle of the night. When they were toddlers I worried about them bumping their heads or putting something in electrical outlets. Now that they are in school I worry about what they are learning from the other kids that I don't want them to know. These days I worry about their future. I worry about it so much it hurts.
What if the boys decide not to go to church when they grow up? What if they decide to become racecar drivers like their dad, and become so self-centered it tears their families apart? What if they do to their wives what their dad did to me? After all, he was just following in his own dad's footsteps. What if they give up on their marriages when the going gets tough? These are questions that keep me up at night.
When I hear their dad talk to them, and make empty promises that he has no intention of keeping, it breaks my heart for them, and at the same time drives me to be that much more involved. When I see a missed opportunity by him, I swoop in and get it for myself. If he's not going to enjoy this time with his boys then I will.
Love isn't about saying you'll do something... it's about doing it without saying.